Etymology: Middle English, from Old English hēah; akin to Old High German hōh high, Lithuanian kaukaras hill
Date: before 12th century
a. having large extension upward ; taller than average, usual, or expected <a high wall> b. having a specified elevation ; tall <six feet high> — often used in combinations <sky-high> <waist-high> c. situated or passing above the normal level, surface, base of measurement, or elevation <the high desert> 2. a. (1) advanced toward the acme or culmination <high summer> (2) advanced toward the most active or culminating period <on the Riviera during high season> (3) constituting the late, most fully developed, or most creative stage or period <high Gothic> (4) advanced in complexity, development, or elaboration <the higher primates including humans> <higher mathematics> b. verging on lateness — usually used in the phrase high time c. long past ; remote <high antiquity> 3. elevated in pitch <a high note> 4. relatively far from the equator <high latitude> 5. rich in quality ; luxurious <high living> 6. slightly tainted <high game>; also malodorous <smelled rather high> 7. exalted in character ; noble <high purposes> 8. of greater degree, amount, cost, value, or content than average, usual, or expected <high prices> 9. of relatively great importance: as a. foremost in rank, dignity, or standing <high officials> b. serious, grave <high crimes> c. observed with the utmost solemnity <high religious observances> d. critical, climactic <the high point of the novel> e. intellectually or artistically of the first order <high culture> f. marked by sublime, heroic, or stirring events or subject matter <high tragedy> <high adventure> 10. forcible, strong <high winds> 11. stressing matters of doctrine and ceremony; specifically High Church 12. a. filled with or expressing great joy or excitement <high spirits> b. intoxicated; also excited or stupefied by or as if by a drug 13. articulated with some part of the tongue close to the palate <a high vowel> Synonyms: high, tall, lofty mean above the average in height. high implies marked extension upward and is applied chiefly to things which rise from a base or foundation or are placed at a conspicuous height above a lower level <a high hill> <a high ceiling>. tall applies to what grows or rises high by comparison with others of its kind and usually implies relative narrowness <a tall thin man>. lofty suggests great or imposing altitude <lofty mountain peaks>. II. adverb Date: before 12th century 1. at or to a high place, altitude, level, or degree <climbed higher> <passions ran high> 2. well, luxuriously — often used in the phrases high off the hog and high on the hog III. noun Date: 13th century 1. an elevated place or region: as a. hill, knoll b. the space overhead ; sky — usually used with on c. heaven — usually used with on 2. a region of high barometric pressure — called also anticyclone 3. a. a high point or level ; height <sales reached a new high> b. the transmission gear of a vehicle (as an automobile) giving the highest speed of travel 4. a. an excited, euphoric, or stupefied state produced by or as if by a drug b. a state of elation or high spirits
New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.